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Wii Fit Experience - Part 1

Exercise Cardiovascular_training Health

Written by:
James & Sandra
At Christmas our family decided to buy a Nintendo Wii and a Wii Fit board, both because our children were nagging Smil and because we wanted our children to have "some" physical play time, instead of the inactivity of the other gaming consoles on the market. Even though some of theses have started to add tools/toys that extends their functionality towards a more physical active gaming playtime. But both price and functionality compared and the children's age, we decided on the Wii, as a shared family presant. Because even in our family we have to think of the financial crisis, and save a little extra.

Our children, of course, loved it from the get go, and we could see that they actually was using it the physical parts of the games, even more than we had thought. In the space of 1-2 hours they knew all the tricks on how to use the controllers and could play both Tennis and Golf, even though they never tried it real life. We also bought the Wii Fit balance board, because we wanted to give this a opportunity to see if it works, and the added benefit is that it also included games for the children, so it would not be a complete lose, if the parents (us) did not like it.

Before continuing We need to give you a little background info about our exercise/workout history, we have both been having a normal physical active childhood and have always tried to be focused on our physical state. Unfortunately with two children and full time jobs we have been getting into a not so physically healthy shape. I (male) have lost a little to much weight and I need to increase my weight, and to have built up my muscle mass.

My wife have had a hard time loosing the extra weight after her pregnancies, and she have tried 3 different fitness centers, home Pilates DVD's, diet programs + much more. But none of us have been able to keep the motivation high enough, for the time it requires to see some results. We always ended with a negative experience because we did not have the motivation and a way to "kick" us in the but when you have a "off-day" after a long days work.

Wii Fit BMI
View of the BMI graph in the Wii Fit

After the kids was finished "playing" we tried to start using the Wii Fit board seriously, and I have say that we were a little skeptic about if it actually would work. But after some initial start up user errors Vink we got our own custom profiles setup, and it turned out the we had a better BMI than we thought however our "Wii Fit Age"/body age, I don't know how exactly they calculate this, was terrible. My real age is 30 and my wife's real age is 32, but our body age according to the simple tests was 68 and 69 years. And my BMI was 19.5 and my wife's BMI was 24.7, and according to what we know the "perfect" BMI is 22. To achieve this I had to gain 10.1 kg and my wife had to loose 10.5 kg. This is where I think the Wii Fit has some excellent and easy to use tools, it automatically tracks your progress from day-to-day, and you simple enter a goal and a date and it tries to motivate you towards this goal. This motivation comes in the form of helping tips but also as a virtual trainer that follows you and helps doing the exercises.

There is about 40 different exercises included in the Wii Fit, and these are divided into the following sections
  • Yoga
  • Strength training
  • Aerobics
  • Balance games
Not all exercises is unlocked from the start, here the user needs to "earn" minutes/points to get more exercises and levels of difficulties unlocked. Each person as his or her own profile in the game so you can not get access to these unless you actually do some workout. At first I thought this was a strange solution, but as I have used for some time now, it's actually a good thing. Because you want to try these "new" exercises and you feel some kind of reward when getting access to a new exercise. Normally me and my wife do a workout once every second or third day, so we are not pushing to hard in the beginning. but we do between 30 min and 60 min per workout.

The first couple of times we felt a little stupid but we could start seeing and feeling the results pretty quickly, after 14 days my Wii Fit Age was down to 38 and my wife's was down to 40. And we were competing against each other, because on each exercise you get points and it's put on a public score board in the game, so this was pushing us to try even harder. And now after about 30 days of usage my Wii Fit Age is at 33 and my wife is at 36, so we are nearing us our real ages. And I have gained 1.1 kg and my wife have lost 0.9 kg, and we can feel some improvements to our physic, not much but some. The first goal was not to improve our physic but simply to get some motivation so that we could continue instead of "dropping out" again.

Please feel free to comment or discuss this article in the forum thread Wii Fit Experience Part 1

....to be continued

In part 2 of this article series I will write a little about the different types of exercises, how the progress is on our physic, and also I will be describing some more about what to watch out for when using the Wii Fit.

Resources:
  1. Official Nintendo Wii Fit Homepage
  2. Wiki page about the Wii Fit
And last a little clip that shows that it can go wrong if you do NOT follow the instructions and use the built in wrist strap
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